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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge

 

Yggdrasil, the World Ash in Norse mythology. From Northern Antiquities, an English translation of the Prose Edda from 1847. Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge
Yggdrasil, the World Ash in Norse mythology. From Northern Antiquities, an English translation of the Prose Edda from 1847. Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge.

I first read about this challenge in a new blog that I found through GeneaBloggers, called GenealogyRules. I had not heard about this challenge, so of course Googled it, like any addicted genealogist would do. Turns out it was a challenge from Ancestry.com’s Amy Johnson Crow on one of her Ancestry.com blog posts. Of course, I am late to the party, since it is March, not Jan. 1- always seem to be running late to everything- but liked the idea. I think I have posted every week since I got the technical part of the blog going, but often multiple posts about the same ancestor; this will up my game to introduce at least one new ancestor per week.

Of course, I had to follow the link in Amy’s post to No Story Too Small, where her Mar 29 2014 post ends with, “Any story you capture — however you capture it — is more than what you had before.” Oh my, how profound! That really fits well with our short-attention-span-theater younger folks, plus us busy older folks who just have so much going on in life. Telling a person’s life story in only a paragraph or two is painful to me, as it seems they should have so much more. Sometimes, though, all you may know about the person fits into a paragraph or two and that is it. So I will try to write more often about those folks. I like how some bloggers also include what they plan to research next- I do have to remind myself that I will NEVER know it all about a person who is long gone, but I should get that information down somewhere for others to see.

 

Check back tomorrow for who we are going to introduce you to this week- he has been an obsession of mine to research for many, many years!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Yggdrasil, the World Ash, from old Norse mythology, is “a central cosmic tree whose roots and branches extend to various worlds. Various creatures live on it.” per Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree. Image public domain. Thank you, dear son, for being interested as a young teen in the Vikings and their mythology- it is something I may not have read about otherwise.

2) Click above links to access the blogs discussed.

 

Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Sentimental Sunday: Jonathan Felix Benjamin

Hannah (Ford) Benjamin- Bible Record Transcription
Hannah (Ford) Benjamin- Bible Record Transcription (click to enlarge)

Websites like Find a Grave (FAG) have been incredible resources for genealogists- we have found cousins and long lost living relatives, information is available to help as ‘clues’ to be verified for one’s own research, locations within plots can help determine family relationships, as can inscriptions on tombstones or cemetery records, and it is comforting to know where family is “quietly resting.” Writing memorials for FAG has also been a wonderful exercise to analyze and reassess what I think are known facts, and to tell a person’s story. It is also a way to tug at one’s heartstrings, as one learns of the love and heartbreak of a family.

Today my work on Wittemburg Cemetery memorials on FAG tugged at my heartstrings.

If you are a descendant of Dr. E. A. McMurray, Jonathan Felix Benjamin would be a some-number-of-greats Uncle. He was the g-g-uncle of Dr. McMurray, so you can figure your relationship from there.

Jonathan Felix Benjamin was the fifth child of seven known children born to Jonathan N. Benjamin and Hannah E. Ford Benjamin. He lived the first part of his life in Burlington, Licking Co., Ohio, until he moved west with other family members at age 29, in 1867 when they all migrated to Jasper County, Iowa.

In 1870, Jonathan F. and his wife were living with his father and mother on a farm in Malaka Twp, Jasper Co., Iowa. The parents had just $150 in personal estate, but Jonathan F. and his wife had $6500 in real estate and $1000 in personal value.

Jonathan F. and Hannah E. Marple had married in 1863 (probably in Licking Co., Ohio where their first child was probably born) and had six? children: Edson Benjamin (b. 1864), Roland “Rollie” E. Benjamin (b. 1867), William Benjamin (b. 1867), possibly another William (b. 1870), Emma Benjamin (FAG #44708133, b. 1872, married Herman B. Lufkin), and Orlin Dell Benjamin (b. 1878). An “Infant Benjamin, son of J.F. and H. E.” is buried in the same cemetery as his parents, and died in 1873- this may be one of the Williams? though dates do not align.

By 1885, the Iowa State Census shows the family living in Twin Lakes, Calhoun, Iowa. They may have returned to Jasper Co though in 1895, where there is an Iowa State census record that has Jonathan’s age a few years off.

In 1900, Jonathan F. was listed as head of household in the census for Newton (City), living at 748 Main St. at age 60 with his son Orlin, daughter Emma, her husband Herman Lufkin, and their 4 y/o son Percy. Jonathan was listed as a house painter who had been out of work for 2 months, but he did own their home. 

The part that tugged my heartstrings, after seeing they had an infant buried in Wittemberg Cemetery, was Jonathan’s listing as to marital status in the 1900 US Federal Census. He was listed as married for 37 years, but his wife was not listed on the page- she had died on 27 March 1900, and the census had been taken on 08 Jun 1900. How hard that must have been to face life without one’s partner of 37 years! Just that simple little “M” in the marital status column, with a “37” alongside for the years married, but no wife listed after his name, tells a story. He just couldn’t be a widower yet- in his heart, he was still married.

(OK, the cynical and fact-based folks will say that it could have been the census taker’s error, or that of the person giving the information. But maybe not…)

Jonathan was living alone in 1910, when he may be found in the Federal Census renting on Third St. in Newton, still working as a house painter but not out of work. He was listed as a widower in this census.

Jonathan F. Benjamin passed away in March of 1913, age 74. He is buried in Wittemburg Cemetery alongside his wife Hannah E. (Marple) Benjamin.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) From “Notes on the Life and Family of JONATHAN BENJAMIN, 1738-1841, Frontiersman and Revolutionary War Veteran,” Hannah (Ford) Benjamin Family Bible Transcription. (Bible owned by Orletta Hatch Foreman at the time of these “Notes.”) Type-written copy given to me back in the 1960s, when I was too young to know much about documentation. I believe it was written by the Benjamin family historians, and reading it and later finding information about these Benjamin ancestors in a book got me totally hooked on genealogy.

2) 1870 US Federal census, Jonathan Benjamin head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Malaka, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: M593_398; Page: 342A; Image: 324; Family History Library Film: 545897.

3) 1880 US Federal census, John F. Benjamin, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Twin Lakes, Calhoun, Iowa; Roll: 330; Family History Film: 1254330; Page: 285B; Enumeration District: 025; Image: 0313.

4) 1885 Iowa State Census, Jonathan F. Benjamin: Quigg, Gary, comp.. Iowa, State Census 1885 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003.

5) 1895 Iowa State Census, Jonathan F. Benjamin: Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003. Original data: Iowa. 1895 Iowa State Census. Des Moines, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa.

6) 1900 US Federal Census for Jonathan F. Benjamin, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Newton, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: 439; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0030; FHL microfilm: 1240439.

7) 1910 US Federal Census for Jonathan Benjamin: Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Newton Ward 1, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: T624_407; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0032; FHL microfilm: 1374420.

8) My Find A Grave memorial #57139950 for Jonathan Felix Benjamin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57139950.

9) My Find A Grave memorial #57139890 for Hannah E. (Marple) Benjamin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57139890

10) My Find A Grave memorial #28129737 for Infant Benjamin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=28129737.

11) US GenWeb- Iowa listings for Wittemburg Cemetery, Jasper Co: http://iagenweb.org/jasper/cemeteries/wittemberg/burials.htm

12) [Edited 04/06/2015 to add] See also posts for Edson Benjamin and his wife, Martha “Jennie” Slade Benjamin:

Tombstone Tuesday: Edson Benjamin and Martha Jennie Slade

http://heritageramblings.net/2014/05/13/tombstone-tuesday-edson-benjamin-and-martha-jennie-slade/

Series of posts beginning with Tombstone Tuesday: Edson Benjamin- “A Cowardly Murder,” Part 1: http://heritageramblings.net/2014/11/04/tombstone-tuesday-edson-benjamin-a-cowardly-murder-part-1/

 

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Sibling Saturday: Sophie Whitener and Her Son John Newton Whitener

Children of Newton Whitener and Sophia (Whitener) Whitener - (from left) Hazel Whitener, John Whitener, Birdie Caroline Whitener, 1907
Children of Newton Whitener and Sophia (Whitener) Whitener – (from left) Hazel Whitener, John Whitener, Birdie Caroline Whitener, 1907

 

Siblings often depend on each other throughout their lifetime, especially in previous eras. They would migrate together, work together, pray together, play together, and even raise children together.

 

Fredericktown, Madison County, Missouri 1904

 

The story goes that Sophie nee/Whitener Whitener (Yes, her maiden name was Whitener and she was a cousin to her husband.) delivered her last baby in September of 1904.

The child John Newton Whitener was very tiny. There is no recorded birth weight but it is apparent that he was premature. It is said that a small teacup would easily fit over his head.

Sophie was ill and had the premonition that she would not survive. She had also lost three other children that had deceased early in their lives. (This was in addition to five other children that grew to adulthood. It was a total of nine recorded children after her marriage in September 11, 1881.)

It is said that she called for her sister in law, Mary Whitener Sitzes, and gave the baby to her. “Mary, I want you to raise Johnnie. I don’t think you will.” (This was because of the baby’s tiny size- his survival was unlikely.)

John and Mary Whitener Sitzes accepted that challenge. They lived about three miles outside of Marquand, Madison County, Missouri.

On a cold November day in 1904 with heated stones to provide warmth for the child in an open buggie/wagon, John and Mary carried John Whitener from Fredricktown, Missouri, to Marquand, Missouri (15 miles) and then to their home (3 miles further). There they raised John.

Sophia Elizabeth (Whitener) Whitener, 1904
Sophia Elizabeth (Whitener) Whitener, 1904

Sophie Whitener died 14 Nov 1904, two months after John’s birth.

John called Mary and John Sitzes “Mom” and “Dad,” but he knew that Newton Whitener was his biological father.

Newton Frederick Whitener (widower of Sophie) raised his other children but never questioned Sophie’s wish.

John Whitener, 1906
John Whitener, 1906

I believe that my brothers and I owe our very existence to the love the Aunt Mary Sitzes poured out on my dad, John Whitener.

By James Richard Whitener

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

 

1) John Newton Whitener was born on 15 Sep 1904, and lived to be 67 years old.

2) Family oral tradition per Ethel Underwood Whitener.

3) Sophie Whitener Find A Grave Memorial : http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=54409843

4) Newton Frederick Whitener Find A Grave Memorial : http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=42454370&

5) Mary Whitener Sitzes Find A Grave Memorial : http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57705485

6) John Sitzes Find A Grave Memorial : http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57705994

7) 1900 US Federal Census – Madison County, Missouri, for Newton Whitener as head of household.

8) 1910 US Federal Census- Madison County, Missouri, for John Sitzes, head of household, showing John Newton Whitener in the family.

9) Newton Frederick Whitener and Sophie Whitener are both descendants of Henry Whitener Find A grave Memorial: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26477693

10) The Whitener Family from 1717 to 1965 – Vol. II – by Virginia Whitener Crowe and Fletcher Standefer Crowe (p. 42).

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog, pmm, and James R. Whitener.

 
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Thankful Thursday- Thankful for Geeks!

George A. Roberts, about 1900.
George A. Roberts, about 1900.

I am very thankful for my geek family, who have helped me make this blog a bit prettier and more functional than I could have done on my own. My dear husband and son are wonderfully computer literate, and especially talented when it comes to CSS and HTML. (I’m trying to learn it, but would just rather research and write.) Last night we got the pull-down menu mostly fixed under “Family Trees,”which used to be “Pedigrees.” (Sounds sort of stuffy British peerage so we changed the title.) It still doesn’t list the Lee-Alexander-Aiken family on the pull down, but you can access that branch if you just click on “Family Trees.” Clicking on a family from this page will take you to all the posts associated with that family. This is probably the best way to find pertinent-to-you posts, since there are so very many families discussed on this blog.

[Disclaimer: My dear husband and son would have made a much nicer blog if I had not been insistent on doing most of it with WordPress myself. I have tried not to bother them too much with blog fixing, so all poor qualities are due to my strong-willed German heritage, I suppose.]

 

George A. Roberts (1861-1939), above, was a bit of a geek in his day. As a farmer he had to be a tinkerer. He embraced new-fangled gadgets as well, and was one of the first in the area to have indoor plumbing and an automobile. His wife, Ella V. Daniel, was thrilled to finally have running water in the kitchen where she cooked for dozens of men at harvest season! I am sure our son is so handy partly because of George, plus from his father/my husband, who is descended from people who worked with their hands, like farmers and shoe-makers, and has a bit of German engineering genetics thrown in from somewhere, I am sure. Many trips in the stroller to Home Depot as a baby to get out of the house on a rainy day were probably helpful too- our son first counted to 100 sitting on the floor with big landscape spikes. (We did buy them and then he got to help use a sledgehammer…great fun.)

I am also thankful for Thomas MacEntee and his wonderful blogs, Hack Genealogy and GeneaBloggers. His webinars and shared information has done much to advance genealogical research, and get many of us to write blogs to share what we have learned.

One of those who shares her genealogy and writes it beautifully is Cynthia Mulcahy/Mulberrygrrl of We’re All Relative. I am not related but her amazing prose is inspiring to writers and does relate to many of the lines I am researching. I particularly enjoyed her recent post, “I’m Finally Embracing My Scots-Irish Ancestry.” She uses great images to illustrate her points, and she discusses many facts I had not known. This post mentions that the ‘Fighting Scots-Irish’ were enticed to America to be a ‘buffer’ between civilized cities and the wild frontier- so many of my ancestors were just those folks.

I cannot end this “Thankful Thursday” post without mentioning Jim Whitener, who pushed me into starting this blog after hearing yet another Legacy Family Tree Webinar on blogging how-to. I am looking forward to more posts on his family, when he has some time to write about his ancestors, i.e., when he is not enjoying his rich legacy of children and grandchildren. 😉

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) From our family photo treasure chest. This is one-thrid of a portrait of the three Roberts brothers, taken about 1900 in Newton, Jasper, Iowa.

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Tuesday’s Tip- Organizing computer files

05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling
05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling

Last week I wrote about creating file names so that your computer will automagically create a sort of timeline in your file folders- see Tuesday’s Tip- Let your computer create a timeline!

Images and documents with multiple persons can be challenging to file- which name should be used as the file name? I tend to use the oldest or most prominent or most important-to-me persons in the photo or document, and one can then create a note to go into other folders referencing where the document or image has been placed. I am hoping to convert to using Lightroom (LR) soon- just wish it could use .pdfs. With LR, you can leave your images in the file hierarchy you like and have the program just point to its location. It also allows you to tag multiple people, so it will help with this dilemma.

 

My file folders are arranged differently than those of many genealogists. My family moved around a lot, so  listing files by place just doesn’t work for me- I prefer to have everything about one person pretty much together. This is a problem though, with things like censuses, since you will find a census entry for a person as a child in their family, and then with a family of their own. I have decided to deal with this by keeping a person in their birth family until they were off on their own as an adult, which usually coincides with marriage and a family of their own. My folders thus have a name like McMURRAY_W-PAYNE_L, for Will McMurray and Lynette Payne, who were the parents of Dr. E. A. McMurray, and his documents and images would appear in their folder until he married. The next folder he would appear in chronologically would be the McMURRAY-ROBERTS folder, where documents about his life with his first wife and son would reside. McMURRAY-KENNER would be the last folder I would put his documents in, for his life with his wife of 61 years and their beautiful family. If you use this method, choose which name to put first and be consistent- either husband or wife first.

Since I am one of those uppity women and a feminist, and it is still Women’s History Month (ahhh, the irony of a Women’s “HIStory” Month…), I use the maiden names of women throughout their lives. That helps me tell “HERstory.” Plus, it helps to separate out Hannah Ford from Hanna Marple who married father and son so both became Hannah Benjamin. (And the confusion continues, since father and son are both Jonathans.)

 

If you decide to try any new system, start small, maybe with just one family, to see if the system works well for you. There will always be items that could be filed in various ways- just try to find what you can be consistent with and use it. Change it to how it will best work for your mind to work with it easily- after all, the idea is for your brain to be analyzing, not filing. Remember, too, that you don’t have to change everything at once- that would be a daunting task, and quite a problem if you decide you don’t like the system or it doesn’t work for you. So that it’s not overwhelming,  start with your new files as you create them, and change older ones out when you have a few minutes here or there, such as while waiting on hold for 30 minutes with the cable company. I still have a lot of cleanup to do on my files since I started on this system even though it has been many years that I have used it. Changing to another computer has also thrown my system off, but further work on this system will be an enjoyable project filled with rediscovered gems as I get my filing system well organized.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photo archives.

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.