Friday’s Family History Finds

The best Family History Finds this week:

Family Stories

Violating My Own Rule? – Mina’s Parents by Israel Pickholtz on All My Foreparents

So much can be learned about an ancestor’s life from a probate record – often more than from a will in terms of daily life:
Thomas Dodson’s Estate Inventory,  A Tallow Sort of Fellow 52 Ancestors #153 by Roberta J. Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

Incest? on The Genealogy Girl

Research Resources

Fantastic Find: Lowcountry Africana by Pat Hartley on Ancestor Island

New York State Archives for Genealogists – Part Two AND Part Three by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

The Beyond Kin Project by Diane L. Richard on UpFront with NGS

Two posts this week about ancestors’ jobs:
Pictures of Places of Employment on Ebay by Michael John Neill on Rootdig

Your Ancestor’s Employer May Give a Glimpse of Her Fan Club by Joanne Cowden on Researching Relatives

A newly found newspaper resource:
Small Town Newspapers – a Hidden Gem! by Diane L. Richard on UpFront with NGS

For Alaskan roots:
Alaska Genealogy and an Important Milestone by Amie on Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems

A Sense of Place by Diane Boumenot on One Rhode Island Family

Tech News

How to Make a Shutterfly Book from a PowerPoint Presentation by Genealogy Mom

Genetic Communities AND More on Genetic Communities and Display Problem Hints, both by Roberta J. Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

More Answers About TreeShare in RootsMagic by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings


1 Name. 61 Variants by Alona Tester on Lonetester HQ

Be sure to create copies of all your linked files before you begin to rename them:
Getting Digitally Organized? Be Cautious with Files Linked in Your Genealogy Programs by Gone Researching

My Digital Workflow by Janine Adams on Organize Your Family History

Another Copyright Issue by Alona Tester on Lonetester HQ

Who the Heck Is in That Old Photo? by Wayne Shepheard on Discover Genealogy

Education Is for Everyone

A Season for Learning by Jacqi Stevens on A Family Tapestry

At-Home Learning Opportunities for 2017 on the Pima County Genealogy Society Blog

GeneaWebinars Calendar

FREE 5-Day Western European Family History Conference – Both Online and On-Site in Salt Lake City by Leland Meitzler on GenealogyBlog

Take a Lesson from a Professional Genealogist for Less Than a Cup of Coffee by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist

Keeping Up with the Times

Just for fun:
Identifying a Possible Ancestor Via Art?! by Lori Samuelson on Genealogy at Heart

Privacy issues in the news this week:
What Is and What Is Not Private for Genealogists? by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star AND

Why Is Everyone Talking About VPNs? by Thorin Klosowski on Lifehacker

Hartwell Thomas Coleman (1869-1938)

If Hartwell Thomas Coleman, my great grandfather,  was expected on Christmas Day, he was a couple of days late, making his appearance on 27 December 1869 in Calais, Washington County, Maine. By all accounts, though, he was a much loved son and baby brother, being the fifth child of six born to William Coleman and his wife, Sarah Moriah Crouse.

Hartwell Coleman, c1870

I don’t have too many photos of my ancestors as toddlers, but Hartwell was bundled up and taken to the photographers to have this tintype picture taken. I am guessing it might have been for his first birthday, so taken about Christmas in 1870.

I have no idea where his parents got the name Hartwell, but Thomas was clearly a tribute to William’s father, Thomas Coleman. Although Hartwell had six siblings, he never knew his baby brother, Alvin, born on 27 November 1857, but passing away at the age of 4 1/2 months on 16 April 1858. His sister, Mary Adelaide, was quite a bit older than him, having turned 14 a few weeks before he was born. Addie married in 1878 and was then in a home of her own with her husband and children. His only other sister, Ethel H., almost shared his birthday, as she was born 30 December 1873. Sadly, little Ethel died of croup on 15 March 1880. She was buried next to her infant brother, Alvin, in Calais Cemetery. When Addie died in 1895, she was buried alongside her siblings, too.

In spite of the sadness of losing two small children and a daughter who was a young wife and mother, Hartwell grew up with two other brothers, William Edgar, born 17 October 1858, and Samuel Jones, born 8 October 1863.

Life in Calais revolved around two main occupations – farming and sea life. William Coleman tried farming, following in his own father’s footsteps, but was soon drawn to the sea. He became a mariner and then eventually earned his stripes as a tugboat captain on the St. Croix River. With an abundance of Maine lumber, Calais became a major center for boat building and tugs were needed to guide the sailing ships in and out of the Bay of Fundy.

I imagine that little Hartwell spent many fun times down around the waterfront and, as he got a bit older, likely worked many hours there, too. I imagine when he was old enough, William took Hartwell out in the tugboat with him and, as a result, Hartwell, too , was drawn to sea life.

On 14 July 1890, shortly before Hartwell turned 21, he married Anna Elisabeth Jensen, Americanized to Johnson. Anna was Danish and her family had emigrated from Copenhagen in 1884, first settling in Fort Fairfield, Aroostook County, Maine and then in Calais.

Hartwell and Anna Coleman, c1896

I feel very fortunate to be the keeper of this photo of Anna. Anna bled to death during an at-home in the kitchen gall bladder surgery on 4 March 1916. My grandmother had just turned 15 when her mother died and she entrusted me to take care of the only picture she had of her beloved mother.

Based on Anna’s beautifully fashionable dress, it looks like Hartwell was doing quite well as a tugboat captain.

Besides my grandmother, Hazel Ethel Coleman, born 7 February 1901 (and named for Hartwell’s little sister, Ethel H., who I mentioned had died in 1880), Hartwell and Anna also had a son, Hazel’s older brother, Hazen Raleigh Coleman, born 5 February 1895. I never met Hazen, nor have I ever seen a picture of him.

Hazen married Mary Luella Staples on 15 November 1916, across the river in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. Hazen died on 17 November 1953 in Massachusetts, but Mary didn’t pass away until 26 May 1993 in Connecticut. I corresponded with her for a while and she shared stories with me about Hartwell.

By the 1910 census, Hartwell had achieved the rank of master mariner.

Hazen’s wife, Mary, wrote to me and shared that Hazen, too, became a master mariner, but he moved to Boston and worked in the harbor there.

Hartwell married again on 12 September 1918 to Lydia J. Wilson, who was also born and raised in Calais.

Lydia was 33 years old when they married and became pregnant in February 1919. On 17 November 1919, their daughter, also Lydia, was born, but mom Lydia barely survived the birth and died five days later.

Hartwell must have decided that he was in no position to raise an infant alone and my grandmother, Hazel, was getting ready to marry and start her own family, so newborn Lydia went to live with her maternal grandparents and was raised by them.

By 1920, Hartwell, my grandmother Hazel, and Hartwell’s mother, Sarah, were living in Malden, Massachusetts. Perhaps Hartwell decided they needed a change of pace after Anna’s death, Lydia’s death and giving up the care of his infant daughter to her grandparents. Hartwell decided to work at Boston Harbor like Hazen.

About 1924, Hartwell and mother Sarah returned to Calais for good. Hartwell didn’t retire from work, though, and he didn’t retire from marriage either.

Hartwell married widow Sadie Ella Staples Boone, elder sister of his daughter-in-law, Mary, probably about the time he returned to Calais. Sadie was born 11 June 1895 in Burtts Corner, York, New Brunswick, Canada. Hartwell’s mother clearly kept in touch with her many cousins and other relatives in New Brunswick and tiny Burtts Corner wasn’t all that far away from Calais.

I have to laugh at the intertwined family relationships. The Staples and Boone families were descended from Loyalists. When Hartwell married Sadie, Hazen’s wife Mary became both a daughter-in-law and a sister-in-law to Hartwell.

I don’t have a wedding photo of Hartwell and Sadie and I believe they likely married in Calais since New Brunswick marriage records are digitally available on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website.

As mentioned, Hartwell might have finished his sea-faring career, but Cappy Coleman, as he was affectionately known, opened up a general store next door to his house, which was at the intersection of River Road and Hardscrabble Road in Calais.

My mother had happy memories of visiting Calais in the summer when Grampy would give the grandchildren some candy from his shop.

Hartwell cared for his mother during her very long life. This picture was taken about the summer of 1930:

Calais Summertime, c1930

I’ve never figured out who the extra female in the photo is. Sarah Coleman is seated with grandkids Anna (tall girl) and Floyd (son Hazen’s children) on either side of her. Directly behind is Hartwell Coleman with Mary (Hazen’s wife) on the left and wife Sadie (with the hat) on the right. The petite young lady on the right is Doris Boone, Sadie’s daughter by her first husband, George Boone. Doris married in November 1930, shortly before she turned 17. That leaves the little girl on the left, who is way too young to be my aunt or my mother, who were 9 and 7 in 1930. I haven’t a clue who she is.

In any case, Sarah passed away on 18 October 1930 in Calais at the age of 97 1/2 years. Hartwell himself didn’t live nearly as long a life span as his mother. He died on 30 March 1938 at the age of 66 after “an illness of over three months.” The illness was a cerebral thrombosis, a blood clot, which brought on a stroke, from which he didn’t recover.

Hartwell Coleman’s Obituary

His widow long outlived him. Sadie married a Mr. Stevens and passed away in Freeport, Cumberland, Maine on 10 December 1988.

Like his first two wives, his parents and his grandparents before him, Hartwell Thomas Coleman was laid to rest in Calais Cemetery.

Mining for Treasure: Hints on the Family Trees

Have you’ve ever taken a look at ALL the hints in your Ancestry family tree?

Although I have spent some time lately actually doing just that, and cleaning them out, for the most part, my M.O. is to check out hints that come up as I work on particular ancestors.

I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned by doing the “all hints” search instead.

First, 12,374 sounds like a LOT of records are there to be found my ancestors. In reality, there are far fewer and that leads me to one of my new pet peeves.

I decided to begin with the two categories most interesting to me – Photos and Stories, which form only a portion of the total hints.

I quickly discovered in the Photos section that there were hundreds of hints that were nothing more than stock photos, like flags.

This is not my idea of a photo. Besides flags, there are icons with a sailing ship that says “Immigrant Ancestor,” Quaker portraits (not of the people to whom they are attached), drawings of churches and signs to cemeteries, etc.

I guess people want to have images for everybody on their tree, but I personally don’t see the need to add all these icons.

I decided my time was best used by ignoring all of the “chaff,” so to speak, to discover how much wheat there really was. Between my tree and that of my husband, I found about sixty new images that I had not seen before.

That leads me to my second new pet peeve. Each new image has been copied and saved by so many people that some were appearing at least ten times in my hints list. Unlike the icons I just mentioned, I don’t think much can be done about cutting down on this duplication because we are all out there doing the same thing – mining for new treasures.

There are a couple of things about the Photos list that I don’t like. First, when I hit “ignore” and moved on, the remaining hints don’t seem to move up in the line to replace the newly vacated spot. After I had exited Ancestry and later returned to the Photos list, page 1, for example, would have two hints on it, pages 2, 3 and 4 might be completely empty, page 5 could have one hint, and then I’d hit several more blank pages. I’m not sure why it works like this, but I would think Ancestry programmers could make this process a bit smoother.

The other thing I don’t like because I don’t know why it does it, is that after I have reviewing and accepted or ignored all the Photos, it still shows a number indicating that more Photos are to be found. The image at the top of this post shows 185 Photos in the queue, but when I click on each of the ten pages in the collection, every single page is empty. Either the image counter is off or else the other Photos aren’t coming up.

Next, I took a look at the Stories hints, each within a folder that appears as a book to be opened:

The Stories group is a motley collection of a little of everything. There are scanned pages of transcribed wills, a single link to some other source, transcriptions to Bible records, county biographies, obituaries and research notes. There are also a number of files that open to gibberish or that don’t open at all.

There are some true gems to be found among the Stories hints, but it was a lot of work to find them because each and every file has to be opened and viewed to determine what is in it because Stories are just attached to a person and the title is buried within the file. Very few people seem to have included a description of what the “story” is.

I have never used Stories to save any of my own information and I don’t think I will. Instead, I save jpg images that appear as Photos with titles. I think that is a much more efficient way to store and then later locate them.

My hints list above shows zero stories to be reviewed because I cleaned out that file for my tree. However, my husband’s tree has 438 stories to be reviewed. Eventually, I will get through them, but I honestly found so few Stories that I wanted to save in my tree that I could count them on one hand and still have fingers left over.

After the Photos and Stories, I took a look at Member Trees, which I think is a complete waste of time. Just a word of advice, if you choose to review those trees, DON’T click on the person’s name as that will only open your OWN tree. Instead, click on REVIEW to see the other member trees that include that person.

We all know how accurate or inaccurate public member trees can be. I often check public member trees for clues, but only as I work on individual people and I am hoping to find a new research path. It’s a lot quicker to search those trees using one person’s name than it is scrolling through the list in these hints.

I left the Records group until last. As with the Photos category, there is one icon that appears often.

This one, too, is a lot of work to review because this icon sometimes indicates only an index with no other information to be seen or it might link to Find A Grave or some other website where the record is housed. It’s going to take me a long time to get through all of these!

One final word of caution about all these attached records – just as with errors in the public member trees, there are items attached to the wrong people in the Records hints. I have found men of the same name born a century after the Revolutionary War with their very own pension files attached to them! I’ve also found death certificates paired up with the wrong people and have found photos that are correctly labeled attached to people with some other name. Ancestry has also provided some record hints that pertain to someone else of the same name.

As always, one needs to be vigilant when reviewing new records and resources.

What will I do in the future in terms of using these hints? I will admit upfront that I will probably continue with my method of reviewing them as they come up attached to individual names.

When I have some down time and/or am bored and want something to do, I’ll delve back into the complete list of hints to see what treasures can be found.