Monday, December 5, 2016

FamilySearch...the Pros and the Cons.

Hey there!

Can you believe it's already December??? It seems hard to imagine, doesn't it?

I just wanted to pop in here and let you know that I am still digging into my family history, but it's been I've been a little slow as far as getting things uploaded to the Blog.

Have you heard of

Today's post is exploring the world of Genealogy using the website,

I gotta say, this site is one of the best when it comes to digging up your family history! You get access to actual records and data without a fee...that's right, it's FREE! However, as it usually happens, there are some issues you need to be aware of. So let's get started...

The Pros

  1. First off, did I mention that Family Search is FREE! That's right, there is no cost to you. Simply register your FREE account, click on "Family Tree", type in your name, and you are all set to go!
  2. Access to thousands of real records, without a cost! And for those records that are offsite, FS will warn you before you click on that link, and even tell you if the site you are heading off to requires a subscription. But here's the great part, even if the record is stored on another site that requires money, it still provides you with a summary of what's contained in the record itself.
  3. Editing, updating, and maintaining your Family Tree is actually quite easy. There are tutorials, but I've found that most of the tools are pretty basic, and FS has a common sense approach to using their features.
  4. Being able to store your records in your Source Box! In your Source Box, you can create folders and organize to your hearts content, making this site truly a personal experience. You can find your Source Box in the drop down list attached to your name.
  5. Because this is a 'universal' tree system, other people adding to 'your' tree can help you find family members, dates, and other information that you were never aware of!
  6. Family Search can be used in conjunction with software, RootsMagic.

The Cons
  1. Family Search is a 'universal' tree...meaning, that your Family Tree is not private, and can be edited or altered by anyone, or everyone, whenever they want. Trust me, this is the one aspect of this site that I love and hate.
  2. Duplicates - Unfortunately most people are not as careful to take the time needed to research before they  "Add" someone to the tree. This results in duplicate profiles of the same exact person they just created. Instead of merging an existing person into 'their' Family Tree, they create a duplicate. This is why often you will see one person linked to 2, 3, or 6 identical spouses with a different child attached to each spouse. People just don't take the time to do it right the first time.

Despite the cons, I do use this site frequently, in fact, daily. It's one of my favorites, and the Pros, in my opinion, far outweigh the Cons.

Do you have any other insight, whether favorable or not, that you'd like to share about Family Search? Post them in the comments, I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Just a Little Update...and a Tip on How to Search!

Hi there!

It's been a bit since I last 'officially' updated the Blog, so I thought I would drop you a note to say that I am still here and working behind the scenes.

Currently I am in the midst of updating the Obituary sections, am working on the Fritchen family at the moment, for which I have many entries to log in.

Also, I am updating my Casson family tree line on FamilySearch, which is a bit time-consuming to unravel all the duplicates and misinformation there.

In regards to the Casson family...over on Ancestry they've opened up a new source for the records, "North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000". Since I am not currently a paying member of the site I am unable to view the actual records, which is a bit frustrating because I LOVE new record information!  However, I just wanted to share with you the simple fact that often you can work around such hindrances by simply doing a google search.

I used the the name of the publication, added the name of the person I was looking for, and searched Google. Happily, I managed to find the source for the source Ancestry opened up for this particular ancestor, and the best news is that it was totally FREE!

Once I've got it all organized I will list the source on the Source Page on the Blog, but I just wanted to give you the following Tip...

Use Google (or your favorite browser) to find free information! I type in just the name, sometimes the name with the source, I add dates and spouses or family members, or occupations...anything that might help narrow the searches. I don't use punctuation either.

Example:  obituary for donald fritchen in 1999

I have found obituaries, biographies, family links that I never would have found without doing a random search.  Sometimes the information for the exact family member doesn't come up, but it brings up family members that are related.

So, while this Search Tip isn't the most unique, and most of the more experienced genealogists are well aware of the power of doing browser searches, I hope that for those of us who are new to Genealogy this little bit of information will help.

See you soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Andrew Hay, Adam Hay and Hannah Bottomley Brown Hay…A Family Connection Has Been Found!

I am so excited to announce that I have finally found a connection between the families!

When I first began digging into our family history, a connection kept popping up by well-meaning folks who didn’t always check their facts before adding them to the tree, and I have to admit, that being new to genealogy, I also added them to my personal tree. Of course, after a bit of digging, well, a lot actually, I discovered that the family members didn’t appear to be connected except for their location…both families settled in the Yorkville/Raymond, Wisconsin area…and I quickly clipped their branches from our tree.

Fast forward a few years.

Recently I’ve been untangling the tree hosted on the FamilySearch website, because, as you know, it is a universal tree, which means anyone can add, delete, update, alter, and edit the information. (While a great concept, it can be challenging to maintain.) Because of this there were duplicate profiles, incorrectly linked family members, and tons of misinformation. Basically it was a mess, and rather than posting a “Danger, Enter at Your Own Risk” sign I accepted the challenge, rolled up my sleeves (figuratively, because in the summer here in AZ I rarely wear anything with sleeves) and got to work. Alright, let’s just say I’ve spent way too much time untangling the branches, and get on with the information I’m so excited about!

The John Hay family tree in a nut shell...

John Hay married Margaret Grey (my 6th Greats) on May 11, 1786 in Ellingham, Northumberland, England. They had 3 sons. My 5th Great-Grandfather, Adam Hay, was born on April 12, 1790. His older brother John was born on February 16, 1787 and his younger brother Andrew was born on May 10, 1793. 

Adam married Jane Cristal around 1812-1813, and they had five children; George, William, John, Jane, and James. George Hay, my 4th Great-Grandfather, was born in 1814. He married Hannah Fram in 1840, shortly before Adam decided to move the family to America in 1842. George, Hannah and their 1 year old daughter Ann, emigrated with the rest of the family. Tragically, however, Adam’s wife Jane died during the voyage and is assumed to have been buried at sea.
(Travelling with them were the family of Thomas Thomas (yes, that is a real name), which included a daughter, Harriet Thomas. It is unclear whether the families met on the boat, or were friends before, but both families settled in Yorkville, Wisconsin, and young Harriet, born in 1819, became the second wife of Adam Hay on March 9, 1847. (Adam was 29 years older than his bride). To this union were born 5 more children; Joseph, Andrew, John S, Adam and Harriet M.)
George and Hannah went on to have 8 more children, 9 in total; Ann, John Thomas, Elizabeth, Joseph W, Isabelle, George II, Ralph, George III and William J. The family settled in Raymond, Wisconsin. Their son, John Thomas (my 4th Great Uncle), born in 1843, married Mary Caroline Heselden in 1869, and they had 7 children.

In the meantime, Adam’s younger brother Andrew married (wife unknown) and had at least one son named John, who was born on February 26, 1824 in England. A year after his Uncle Adam emigrated to the United States, young John followed suit, and in 1843 also settled in the Yorkville/Raymond area.

John Hay married Hannah Bottomley Brown, widow of Thomas Brown, on March 6, 1849 in Price, Wisconsin. They settled in Raymond, Wisconsin, and had 9 children; Andrew, Martha Elizabeth, Edwin Bottomley, Jane, Margaret, Thomas, Henry Dixon, Alfred E, and John George.

As to the confusion of the families…

Both Adam Hay and John Hay emigrated from Northumberland, England, and both settled in the Yorkville/Raymond area, Adam in 1842 and John in 1843. Both are buried in the Yorkville Cemetery.

Unfortunately people don’t do the research behind the names, so they mix up the families by erroneously linking Hannah Bottomley Brown with John Thomas Hay, who were not only married to other people, but the two John’s were born 20 years apart, and in fact, John Hay is the uncle of John Thomas Hay.

I’ve got census records, marriage records, and biographies that go into detail regarding the two families, as well as newspaper articles that prove that John Thomas Hay and John Hay are two distinct, different people.

The missing link was how Adam Hay and Andrew Hay were related. My recent discovery of the birth/christening records listing their parents as John Hay and Margaret Grey solved the puzzle and I have happily reintegrated the two families into their proper branches on the Hay Family Tree!

Disclaimer: Of course, as time goes on, information may ebb and flow, and if I learn anything new, or if changes need to be made, I will happily post to let you know!  In the mean time, if you have anything to add please don't hesitate to reply to this thread, or contact me through the widget on the right side of the Blog.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lydia Barrington Darragh – American Spy and Patriot

This Memorial Day I wanted to share a recent discovery in my Barrington family history, one that I am so excited about!

Most of the time when military heroes are written about, they are usually of the male persuasion.  And there are many, many military men in my family history who undoubtedly deserve recognition for their contributions to American history, but this time, I would like to introduce you to a brave Quaker woman who defied the British army and helped thwart an ambush against George Washington’s troops.

How is she related to me?

  • Lydia is the daughter of the brother (John Barrington) of my 6th Great-Grandfather Nicholas Barrington.

Lydia Barrington Darragh  (1729-1789)
Lydia Barrington, sixth child and youngest daughter of John and Mary (Aldridge) Barrington, was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1729. She married the family tutor, William Darragh, on November 2, 1753.  About 2 years after they married (1755) they immigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, William working as a teacher and Lydia becoming a midwife. During the years that followed they had nine children, but only five survived past infancy.

When war broke out between America and Britain in 1775 their oldest son Charles, despite his Quaker upbringing, volunteered and served with the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Army.

On September 26, 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, British troops occupied Philadelphia. Lydia began sending information regarding the British plans to her son Charles, who was stationed with Washington’s army, by writing the information in code on scraps of paper hidden in the large buttons sewn on her clothing. She kept her activities secret from her husband William, fearing he would be the one to take the blame if she was found out.

British General William Howe had taken over the former residence of General John Cadwalader, located directly across the street from the Darragh household. Major Andre, aide to Gen. Howe, requested use of the Darragh’s house for Howe’s staff but Lydia protested, stating they had already sent the younger children to live with family in another city and that they had nowhere else to go.  She went to Howe’s residence to bring her protest to the General, and in so doing, met her 2nd cousin Captain William Barrington, who was a British officer. He took up her case, and the result was that she and her family were allowed to remain, with the understanding that Gen. Howe would have access to the large house parlor for staff meetings.

Because Quakers were pacifists and known to be unsupportive of the war Lydia and her family appeared to pose no risk to the British army.

On December 2, 1777 Lydia was told that she and her family needed to be in bed by 8 o’clock, and that the soldiers would wake her when finished with their meeting to let them out. She pretended to sleep, but slipped out during the meeting and hid in a closet to listen in on their plans. Hearing that the British planned to surprise attack Washington’s troops at Whitemarsh on December 4 she knew she had to act.

The following morning she received permission from General Howe (doing this was a regular
occurrence for the women of the city) to cross British lines to go to a mill in Frankford to get flour for her family. Dropping off her empty bag at the mill, she then headed toward the American camp. Soon after Lydia met a family friend, Colonel Craig, and told him about the impending British attack. He immediately rode to warn General Washington. Her mission accomplished, Lydia turned around and returned home, picking up the bag of flour along the way.

After the British surprise attack failed, they returned to the city and Lydia was questioned as to whether a member of the family had been awake or not. She told him no, and was not questioned again.

It has been said that months later Washington himself came to thank her, although this information cannot be proven.

In 1778 the British left Philadelphia, and the other children returned home. Her husband William died in 1783.  Because of their involvement in the war, which went against their Quaker religion, their son Charles lost his membership to the Society of Friends in 1781, Lydia lost hers in 1783. In 1786 Lydia and the children moved and she operated a store until her death on December 28, 1789.

In 1926-1927 the Lydia Darrah School was built in her honor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Between 1974-1976 the Franklin Mint issued a limited edition series of Medallions commemorating the great women of the Revolutionary War era.  Here is the medallion for Lydia Barrington Darragh.

The inscription states: "Lydia Barrington Darragh - Though she was opposed to war, this gentle Quakeress was an ardent patriot. She risked her life to warn Washington of secret British plans for a surprise attack."

There is so much more to Lydia’s history, and the account I’ve written has been cobbled together from multiple sources. I encourage you to follow the links and read them for yourself.  And while there are subtle differences in each account, the bottom line is that this little Quaker woman, with great courage and quick thinking, provided General Washington with the needed intelligence to thwart the plans of an invading army. I am so happy to add her to the Family Tree!

Just a note:  I’ve found a photo posted on several websites, including her Find-A-Grave Memorial, which claims it is a photo of Lydia.  I have reason to doubt the truthfulness of this claim.  In the book, “Lydia Darragh, One of the Heroines of the Revolution” by Henry Darrach, the exact same photo is listed on page 390 and it is attributed to her daughter, Ann Darragh.  Because of that, I am not posting it here.

Devotion of the Women of '76 - Lydia Barrington Darragh (Darrah) - pictures from this book
Lydia Darragh, One of the Heroines of the Revolution
The Boudinot Journal - Lydia Barrington Darragh

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Welcome to Digging Up Roots!

Hi there!

Here is the traditional 'Welcome to the Blog' post!  I am so glad you found me!

I began this genealogy journey way back in 2009, and just recently I've discovered that over the years I've accumulated so much 'stuff' in regards to my various family members that it needed to be shared. But how to share it was the dilemma.  I finally came up with this Blog.

My family surnames are:  Horne | Grahler | Nichols | Nelson | Raiche | Casson | Fritchen - and to add to this main group, I'm also related to Pinard | Barrington | Kime | LeRoy | Beaupre | Abers | Baptist - just to name a few!

Digging Up Roots is not just a family genealogy blog, however. I intend to fill it with general tips, idea's, links and so on, so whether you are a member of the family, or just a genealogy buff like myself, you are more than welcome to set up camp and dig with me!

Have a look around, and if you'd like, comment on this post with a "Hello!" and maybe an introduction.