Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mugbooks- Genealogical Gold or Tall Tales?

Sometimes I wish I had a time machine to go back in time and interview my ancestors. But even if this were possible, it would still be oral history.  Oral history is subject to the unreliability of human recollection.  It is not uncommon for different branches of the family to have very different versions of the family oral history.  But I do get excited when I find a biographical sketch for an ancestor in a 19th century mugbook.

According to the Family Search Wiki:

Mugbooks (commonly referred to as County Histories) often include family and biographical sketches in addition to historical information. These sketches were solicited by subscription and often required a fee for inclusion. The addition of photographs or additional text was available at a higher cost.

A majority of the information included in the printed sketches was gathered from pre-printed forms and gathered a variety of genealogical and biographical information. Once submitted, sketches were usually compiled in a standardized format by an in-house editor  working for the publication company (examples include Lewis Historical Publishing Company, S. J. Clarke and Co, and others). 

Because documentation was not required for submission, these sketches require intensive verification and should not be taken at face value.


I recently ran across an example of one of these biographical sketches while doing some research for my friend, Brad Stone.  His ancestor, George W. Stone was featured in the Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region published in 1894.  In addition to the fact that these biographies require verification, they can also be very confusing in the way that they are written.  The George W. Stone biography has been edited below as a first step toward verification.  The added information is contained in brackets.

George W. Stone Biography in 1894 publication of Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region

GEORGE W. STONE. This gentleman who resides in James Creek Township, [Marion County, Arkansas] is the owner of a fine farm, which attests by its value and productiveness the excellent qualities of thoroughness and system which mark the owner. [G.W. Stone] is a native of Ozark County, Mo., where he was born in 1848, a son of John and Maria (Bayless) Stone, natives of Tennessee,where they were reared and married. [1850 census says John was a native of Virginia and "Mariah"  and daughters Sarah and Louisa  were natives of Tennessee. Mary Jane age 9 in 1850 was the first child  born in Missouri indicating an arrival date in Missouri before 1841.]  

From [Tennessee] [John and Maria (Bayless) Stone] removed to Greene County, Mo., and [before 1848] to Ozark County, [Missouri], where Mr. [John] Stone died when the subject of this sketch [G.W. Stone] was very small [Estimated death date is before 1860 based on the fact that he is missing from the family in the 1860 census.]. In 1862 [Maria Bayless Stone and her children] removed to Marion County, Ark., where Mrs. Stone breathed her last about 1882, having long been a member in good standing of the Christian Church. Her father was a farmer of Tennessee and died in that State. 

The paternal grandfather [Robert Stone] was also a Tennesseean and reared four sons: John, Edward, William and David, all of whom died in Missouri. [G.W. Stone] was the youngest save one of the following [children of John and Maria (Bayless) Stone]: Sarah, who died in Marion County, the wife of James Cain; Louisa, who also died here, the wife of Robert Long; Mary Jane, who became the wife of Andrew Benton, and died in Marion County; Adaline, who died in Marion County, the wife of A. C. Musick; Julia Ann, who became the wife of William Lance, also died in this county; Edward Marion, died in this county in 1863; Amanda, became the wife of Joel A. Presley and died in Marion County; George W. and Serepta, who died young. 

George W. Stone remained with his mother until he reached manhood, but owing to the fact that he assisted her in every way in his power and to the scarcity of schools, his education was not of the best. In 1873 he married Marinda Jane, daughter of John Porter, who died in Woodruff County, Ark., when Mrs. Stone [Marinda Jane Porter] was quite small. She was born in that county and there died about 1876, leaving two children: Marion and Druscilla, the latter named for her grandmother Porter, who now [1894] lives in Marion County, the wife of G. B. Forrest. 

In 1881 Mr. Stone married Lucina[Lusana], daughter of Robert and Rachel Forrest, who were born and spent many years of their lives in Ozark County, Mo., but are residents of the State of Washington [since 1880], where they have become comparatively wealthy during their fourteen years' residence there. Mrs. [Lusana Forest] Stone was born in Ozark County, and by Mr. [G.W.] Stone is the mother of seven children: Everet Clarence, Walter, Ida Belle, Frank, Cora, Charley and Nora. 

Since the time of his first marriage [1873] Mr. [G.W.] Stone has resided on his present farm, but at that time only a few acres had been cleared and a small log cabin erected thereon, for which he paid the sum of $25;. He now has a fine bottom-land farm of 152 acres, about seventy of which are cleared and under cultivation. His place is nicely improved with excellent buildings of all descriptions and he always has an abundance of fruit of various kinds. In 1893 he erected a gin, saw and corn mill, all of which net him a satisfactory income. Besides this valuable property he is the owner of some extremely desirable mineral claims. He has followed farming all his life, has made it a success, and is considered one of the substantial men of his section. For the past fourteen years [since 1880] he has been a director in his school district, and he has ever been an earnest advocate of the free-school system, and is a patron of all progressive measures generally. He and his worthy wife are members of the Christian Church and politically he has been a lifelong Democrat, and his first presidential vote was cast for Horace Greeley in 1872.

MLA Source Citation:
A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894. Web. 31 January 2016.

George W. Stone Biography
ncimino1 originally shared this on 25 Jan 2016

The first problem that I noted in the transcript on Access Genealogy was that it did not cite a page number so I looked for an original version in the Family Search Book collection.  George W. Stone was not listed in the table of contents so I downloaded the PDF and a did a search of the document for "George W. Stone."  The biography was found on page 640 and 641.

This biography is packed with information about the family and ancestors of George W. Stone.  Most of the information has been substantiated by census and other sources.  One particularly vexing problem is that an 1870 census record has not yet been found for G.W. Stone or his mother.  This is probably due to a transcription error.

After the writing of this biography, George W. Stone and Lusana Forest Stone had two more daughters.  George W. Stone died on October 10, 1901 in Marion County, Arkansas.  He was originally buried in the Wildcat Cemetery but the grave had to be relocated due to the construction of Bull Shoals Reservoir.

His FindaGrave Memorial has a photo and tells the story of his burial, exhumation and reburial.

G.W. Stone Gravestone FindaGrave Photo
29 May 2014
Flippin, Marion County, Arkansas, USA
Find A Grave Memorial# 59726957
George Washington Stone Birth: Apr. 17, 1848 Ozark County Missouri, USA
Death: Oct. 10, 1901 Marion County Arkansas, USA

G.W. Stone was buried in the Wildcat Cemetery. This cemetery was located on a public road to Flippin behind Wildcat Church and located at the junction of Wildcat Creek and Jimmie Creek in T20N, R16W, prior to the building of Bull Shoals Reservoir. The graves in this cemetery were then relocated to the Fairview Cemetery. If the grave included a tombstone the tombstone was moved with the body. Walter Stone of Yakima, WA was listed as next of kin. Family links: Children: Rachel Cora Stone (1887 - 1901)* *Calculated relationship Burial: Fairview Cemetery Flippin Marion County Arkansas, USA Plot: # 293
 Created by: Barb Henderson
Record added: Oct 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59726957
Photograph was taken on May 29, 2014 by Lee Witt #48135475

Monday, January 25, 2016

Genealogy Garage at the LA Public Library- Is Your Family in the Archives of the LAPL?

One of the biggest names in the genealogy world is the Southern California Genealogical Society. They are well known for their annual "Jamboree" held in "beautiful Downtown Burbank"  and  for their extensive genealogical library.   What I did not know is that they have a partnership with the Los Angeles Public Library to offer the "Genealogy Garage."

On the third Saturday of each month (except December), from 11 am-1 pm, SCGS and LAPL team up to offer the Genealogy Garage workshops at the Central Library of the LAPL. Whether you are a beginner or have been researching for years, here is an opportunity to "tune-up" your current research skills or learn something new about family history research.  Since I was planning to be in LA on January 16, I signed up for the workshop entitled Genealogy Garage: Is Your Family In the LAPL Family History Archives?

The usual Workshop leader Charlotte Bocage is the Education Chair for the Southern California Genealogical Society and is a veteran researcher in archives and libraries across the country.  January 16 was an especially busy day for the LA genealogical community as the Genealogy Roadshow was being filmed at Union Station.  Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Charlotte.

The January 16 Genealogy Garage workshop was led by LAPL Genealogy Librarian Julie Huffman. Beyond the “open shelves & stacks” of the History & Genealogy Dept. at the LAPL is a trove of FAMILY HISTORY material available to the public IF YOU MAKE A REQUEST. These family histories were compiled & donated to the LAPL by other researchers.  How do you request these family histories?

I managed to become one of the FIRST 12 to email two of my family’s surnames and a search was done to see if there were any family histories on those names.  I received a list of name matches from the LAPL Online Genealogy Index.  You might want to add this URL to your list of favorites especially if you are planning to be in the LA area any time soon:

Ms. Huffman found 11 matches in this index for my sample surname: Ketcham.  Four of the matches were Ketcham family histories that will show up in an LAPL catalog search.  LAPL also has a physical library card index which should also be consulted for family histories contributed before 1997. In addition, Ms. Huffman performed a search of PERSI which brought up 77 results.

The History and Genealogy Department of the Los Angeles Public Library is on the Family Tree Magazine list of top 10 public libraries.  The Genealogy Collection at Central Library numbers more than 40,000 volumes, including more than than 10,000 genealogies. The family name index to the collection is available through the databases link on the library home page or through the link in the preceding paragraph.  There are over 200,000 volumes in the history book collection with especially strong collections in biography, travel, wars involving the United States, the West, Native Americans, and Los Angeles area history.

I highly recommend a visit to History and Genealogy Department of the Los Angeles Public Library. Ms. Huffman was especially helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed her Genealogy Garage presentation.  I also recommend that all genealogists visit the links to the SCGS and LAPL webpages that are found throughout this article.  There are dozens of great ideas to use for your local genealogical society and your local public library.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Judy Garland: Our Cousin, Descendant of Loyalist Deserter & Spy!

Judy Garland is well known as a U.S. stage and screen super star.  Did you know she was descended of a Canadian Loyalist family?  She certainly was convincing as a Yankee Doodle Dandy when she performed with Mickey Rooney in Babes on Broadway.  We have taken an interest in her family history because she is my wife's cousin.

Click Here for the YouTube video.

The Loyalists were American families that pledged their loyalty to the British crown during the Revolutionary War.  They became refugees to Canada during and after the war.  The British government gave land grants to these Loyalist families along the St. Lawrence River in Ontario. Similar to our Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution, the Canadians have a lineage society called the United Empire Loyalists.

These quotes from explain our Canadian heritage:

  • The war between the American Colonies and Britain, which lead to the Declaration of Independence divided families in the United States. Many of those wishing to remain loyal to the British crown lost property and possessions in the United States and fled into the Maritime and Central provinces, where they became known as the "United Empire Loyalists" or UELs. Ontario, known as Upper Canada, owes its founding families to the Loyalists who entered in the late 1700s, along with the Pennsylvania Dutch - German families primarily from Pennsylvania.
  • The families living in the Atlantic provinces of Canada have been intertwined with the families of the New England states since the earliest times. In fact, the mixing of Canadians and Americans has been carried on to a surprising degree -- one example being that more than 25% of the families in Michigan today are descendants of Canadian ancestors. In addition, the expulsion of the French "Acadians" in 1755 led to the famous "Cajun" population of Louisiana and other southern states.

      SOURCE: Extracted from the description of the database entitled "Canadian Genealogy Index, 1600s-1900s

Our common ancestors with Judy Garland are Hugh Fitzpatrick 1809-1878 and Margaret Ross 1807-1845.  Ms. Garland remained very close to her Milne and Fitzpatrick extended family until the death of her Grandmother (Eva Fitzpatrick Milne 1865-1949) who lived with her in California until 1949.

I wonder if Judy Garland knew that she had a Loyalist deserter and spy in her family tree.  Family history can be more interesting than fiction. Peter Fitzpatrick and his son, William were the loyalists in the family tree.  Here is an image showing what was written about Peter in the 1885 Centennial Book of the United Empire Loyalists:

To view the original document at, click here

When you read Peter's claim you see that he was held in the Albany jail convicted as a spy at the end of the war:

Here is a transcript of his claim.  Abbreviated words have been spelled out. Punctuation has been added. Other words have been added in brackets for clarity.

Page 134
Jan'y 12
Evidence on the Claim of Peter Fitzpatrick, Tryon County [New York]

Claimant sworn

Says he was in the 2nd Battalion of Sir John [Johnson]'s Regiment.  He had been confined in Albany Gaol [Jail], tried and condemned to die by the Rebels for a Spy.  Got released after the peace.  Got here in the Fall.  Heard the Claims were gone to England when he came.

Is a Native of Ireland.  Came to America in 1766.  Lived on the Mohawk when the Rebellion broke out.  Served at the first of the War.  Then employed in Secret Service.  Afterwards served till End of War.

Produces Discharge from 2nd Battalion.  Had 50 acres given to his Wife by Col. Guy Johnson.  She had been a servant of his.  Had 14 acres clear & Orchard.  Built small house. [Had] 2 cows- 1 Mare-4 Hogs, furniture, utensils.

Sir John Johnson confirms his account.

My description of documents like this one is: Genealogical Gold Mine!  I loved 007 as a kid so it was with great joy that I found that we have a member of "Her Majesty's Secret Service" in our family tree even if he was on the wrong side!  So how many of you Yankee Doodle Dandies can claim that one?

I did notice that others on have taken a big interest in Judy Garland.  I looked at her profile in our family tree and there were 105 Ancestry hints. But only 9 family tree hints showed so maybe she was not as popular as I thought. There are 25 other family trees at Ancestry that claim Peter Fitzpatrick as an ancestor so he wins the popularity contest at least for now.

It probably has something to do with the fact that we show Judy Garland under her original name, Frances Ethel Gumm.  She shows up in the 1930 census in Los Angeles at age 7 as Frances E. Gumm but she is Judy Garland at age 17 in the 1940 census.  There is a link in most records to see how many people have attached that record to their trees.  When you click on this link in the 1940 census for Judy Garland, you can see that 727 people have Judy Garland in their tree.   Sorry Peter, you lose!

Please accept my best wishes for your genealogical travels: "follow the yellow brick road" to amazing ancestral discoveries.

Here is the citation for the claim of Peter Fitzpatrick:

Citation Information
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; American Loyalist Claims, Series I; Class: AO 13; Piece: 029
Source Information
UK, American Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835
Publisher Operations, Inc.
Publisher Date
Publisher Location
Provo, UT, USA
Repository Information
Web Address

Monday, January 4, 2016

May the Words Be With You! A Tribute to My Family

A genealogist's family might have moments when they think that we love our dead relatives better than the living ones.  2015 has been the best year of my life and I have my family to thank for that.  We are never at a loss for words when it comes time to tease or joke with each other.  Sometimes it is hard to find the words to sincerely say I LOVE YOU!

So here are a few words of affection and appreciation to my family to start off the New Year right!

Robin and I celebrated the 40th anniversary of our first date on January 1.  Our 40th wedding anniversary is coming up on November 20.  She has helped me to become a happy man, a joyful father and the luckiest grandfather in the world! She has mentored me to becoming a professional genealogist.  She has given me the inspiration to faithfully write this weekly blog.  ROBIN, I LOVE YOU!

One of my favorite memories of Nicole and Suzy is taking them to the Father-Daughter Valentine Dances back in the Reno days.  I love to dance and I especially love to dance with my daughters.  I have had the great joy of dancing through life with them.  It was a bittersweet moment when I got to dance with them on their wedding days.  I handed them both off to their new dance partners, David and Todd.  It was a fair trade though.  I have truly enjoyed having both daughters and sons.  I look forward to all of the new memories we will make together. NICOLE, DAVID, SUZY & TODD, I LOVE YOU!

I don't think that Julia and Katy are regular readers of my blog yet.  Maybe some day they will come across these words in the universal search engine. I have always had especially fond memories of my grandparents.  Perhaps this is partly what has inspired me to become a genealogist.  Now I know what it is like to experience the feelings on the elder end of the grandparent relationship.  Having these two little girls in my life is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  JULIA & KATY, I LOVE YOU!

To my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins from the first to the Nth degree and to my friends, readers, clients and social media followers:  please know that this genealogical quest is all about you. My greatest hope for 2016 is that genealogy can be a path for reconciliation and reunion.  I look forward to the next family reunion.  EXTENDED FAMILY, I LOVE YOU!